‘It took the prosecutor several months to submit the grounds for the arrest prolongation. Afterwards they cited two generally worded reasons: danger of prison escape and witness tampering, without any elaboration on the danger alleged, as it is required in the European Convention,’ stated Marie Dose, Vardan Petrosyan’s French lawyer, at the Media Center hosted joint press conference that she gave together with Nikolay Baghdasaryan, Vardan Petrosyan’s Armenian lawyer.
Vardan Petrosyan’s lawyers denied both reasons for arrest prolongation.
‘Vardan Petrosyan has handed his two passports to the court, which eliminatesthe prison escape reason. Thus, all we have is a court decision worded with abstract terms,’ noted Marie Dose.
‘With the exception of the accident victims and Vardan Petrosyan himself there are no other witnesses. Consequently, the court proposition that Vardan might exert pressure on the witnesses, if released, proves illogical,’ clarified Nikolay Baghdasaryan.
Vardan Petrosyan’s team prepares to appeal the arrest decision by the Kotayk First Instance Court of General Jurisdiction at the ECHR. ‘We will enclose the given court act in the application to be submittedto the European Court since we have exhausted all possibilities in Armenia,’ stated Nikolay Baghdasaryan.
On October 20, 2013, the car accident on Yeghvard-Yerevan road involved 'VAZ 2121' (Hakobyans' car) and 'BMW' (Vardan Petrosyan's car) cars. The car accident resulted in the death of two of the 'VAZ 2121' passengers- Edgar and Eduard Hakobyans. .
Following the car accident Vardan Petrosyan was rumored to have been under alcoholinfluence at the moment of the accident. The actor's lawyers spoke of this and pointed out that the blood test conducted showed that Vardan was sober.
'If the preliminary investigation and experts state that the driver was not under the influence, it seems irrational that the court should be speaking primarily about the given fact,’ mentioned the French lawyer, ‘We do not have charges sinceVardan is not charged withdriving under the influence. Thus, the court may be investigating anything but a car accident, I daresay.’
Nikolay Baghdasaryan presented to the journalists the 3D replay and video recordings of the car accident and the details. He denied the allegation that Vardan Petrosyan exceeded the speed limit at the given section. ‘The speed limit at this section is 90 km per hour since it is outside an inhabited locality.'
With respect to presumption of innocence, the lawyers recalled the accident-reconstituting film aired on Armenia TV channel. 'I have sent an application to the TV channel to inform them abouttransgressingthe presumption of innocence. France would condemn the TV channel airing such a film,' emphasized the French lawyer. Marie Dose believes the TV film featuring the victims and their sorrow to be acceptable. Yet, when the film shows a zig zag motion of a car, it may imply that the driver is under the influence, which is evidently a transgreesionof presumption of innocence. Such a film leads the judge and public to a certain conclusion about the accident.
Nikolay Baghdasaryan added that the Soviet way of working to discredita person to have him convicted still functions in Armenia.
According to the lawyers, the trial proceedings are conducted with violation of several provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
‘This court trial will bring about the next defeat of Armenia at the European Court,’ concluded Dose citing statistics about 43 conviction cases out of 48 at ECHR ruled against Armenia since Armenia’s signing the European Convention on Human Rights.